BMW Says 2017 Diesel Models Are Coming

-Over the next few months, some BMW dealerships may be missing the diesel versions of some popular models that otherwise offer them. But those highway-efficiency champs won’t be gone for long; BMW has just confirmed that four of its U.S. diesel models have successfully completed EPA and CARB testing and certification for the 2017 model year.

Those models include the 328d sedan and Sports Wagon, the X3 xDrive28d, and the X5 xDrive35d. And although company officials wouldn’t supply further details, the delay suggests it was likely due to a certification process that was somewhat more complicated this time around.

The problem now is, simply, that there aren’t yet any 2017 diesels to sell, because BMW had suspended production of those U.S. models—a smart move, in case the regulatory agencies did delay those models’ entry, or ask the automaker to change something.

“The vehicles will be going into production at our manufacturing plants and are expected to be available at showrooms later this year,” a BMW spokesman told us.

Although these vehicles were already fully baked for North American consumption, the VW diesel-emissions fiasco may have a lasting impact on BMW’s diesel decisions for the U.S. market. The automaker wouldn’t yet comment on the fate of diesels in the upcoming, fully redesigned 5-series, codenamed G30; but the 2016 5-Series is offered in 535d form, with either rear- or all-wheel drive. BMW has said that there are no plans to sell a diesel in the U.S. version of its 7-series, which was redesigned last year.

A quick scan of some dealership sites revealed that there are indeed 2016-model-year versions in stock for some of these models—even ones that have already made the changeover to 2017, such as the X3 xDrive28d. In 2015, diesels accounted for about six percent of BMW’s sales in the U.S. They’ll almost certainly add up to less than that for 2016, when the entire diesel passenger-car market in the U.S. has been stymied by the scandal.

Beyond the loss of diesel’s clean, green image, new regulatory hoops that have stalled the entry of some new models—and some returning ones, like these. After the scandal broke last year, the EPA sent a letter to automakers indicating that it might compare test cycles to those results from “normal operation and use” driving cycles so as to spot a potential defeat device like VW’s that cheats regulations.

That started a period of intense scrutiny for the automakers who do offer diesels in the U.S.  Such audits were related to the delay in the release of the Chevrolet Colorado and Canyon diesel mid-size truck variants late last year.

from Car and Driver Blog

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